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“Life and Limb: The Toll of the American Civil War” on Display at Western University of Health Sciences!

by Patricia Vader
Executive Director, University Library
Harriet K. & Philip Pumerantz Library
Western University of Health Sciences
Pomona, CA

The Harriet K. & Philip Pumerantz Library is hosting the National Library of Medicine (NLM) traveling exhibit, Life and Limb: The Toll of the American Civil War, from April 15 – May 18, 2013. This exhibit presents information about the disabled veterans of the Civil War and how they were impacted by the latest technology in weapons of the time. The death toll was huge and many of the injuries required amputation, the sacrifice of “life and limb.”

Life and Limb NLM travelling exhibit

The library staff easily assembled the six large (7 x 3 ft.) banners, and placed them in the lobby almost directly across from the library entrance. Since this is also near the entrance to the Library’s museum, it drew people into that as well. Planning is essential – we booked this exhibit a year ago – and the staff created displays with the additional materials from the exhibit web site. The supplementary materials are excellent and include materials for promotion of the exhibit. To enhance this wonderful exhibit further, we were fortunate to have on loan from Dr. Bert Davidson, many medical items from the Civil War era in the museum display cases. Dr. Davidson is the director of the San Bernardino Medical Museum and spoke at the opening reception for the exhibit, explaining some of the items and their use during the surgeries and care of the Civil War soldiers.

This was the second time the Pumerantz Library has hosted a traveling NLM exhibit. We previously hosted Opening Doors – Contemporary African American Academic Surgeons. Both exhibits have been successful, drawing many people from the campus community to view the banners and other displays. There have been many positive comments on both exhibits, and the students, faculty, and staff are looking forward to future traveling exhibits!

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